martedì 22 luglio 2014

Frank Cornelissen and Etna.

Last week I went to visit the most underground producer of Etna; Mr. Cornelissen.

We met at the church of Passopisciaro in the afternoon, with us there were other couples from NY and Italy.
Soon we went in the new temporary winery build in two floor, on the ground floor there is the aging, upstair is use for the vinification. Frank dreaming in a proper winery in tree floor with an underground cellar with natural constant temperature, currently need use air-con to be able to monitor-ate the ambience. He reckon this new winery will be ready in 10 years.
As soon we came into the winery I notice a certain amazing hygiene, the cellar was super clean and while Frank show as and explain the steps of the vinification I understood how is important from him to keep the ambience quite sterilized.
Here there is only ambience yeast and nothing is added to the wines.
Plastic bucket in reasonable size are used for fermentation.
Thus the perfect material as Frank reckon for the aging is the fiberglass tanks; also Frank was know for the use of Amphora (clay pot) which Cornelissen vitrified to better keep the wine innocent, not to much oxygen exposed and the glass do not add any extra character at the wine. His wines are pure expression of the terroir and are really just a grape juice.
Frank his got some interesting passion of what he does. Hearing him talking it's an amazing experience, personally i reckon this reflect the wines.
During the visit while we were talking saw the Amphora wasn't perfectly clean and in a matter of second went to pick up a proper tool to spry and clean up. In this occasion told us his philosophy to make a good wine is to keep everything super clean to do not have spoiled bacteria affected the wines.
Stainless steel for him is a good material just for the passage of the wines, however he doesn't like it for the aging; is a good material to clean easily trough the process of vinification.
He love fiber glass it is for Cornellisen the best container to store the wine for the aging, doesn't add nothing to the grape juice while resting to become a good wine.
All his vineyard are on his map and carefully he explain everything about them aging of vines and soil profile was  quite amazing. The only single vineyard are the Magma wine which coming for a vineyards called Barbabecchi over a 1000 meter above sea level in Castiglione di Sicilia on Etna. Also are the oldest vines he got. A sanguine wine with a very complex layers of flavor, saltiness, noble tannin and fresh acidity.
Buried Amphora.
Susucaru his new wine, a Rose blend Mascalese and Minella a glou glou wine I loved it.

some shoot around Etna below:

Vines on Etna.
An old vine
Alive soil on Etna.
Pebbles are quite common on Etna, stony and clay with layer of Lava volcanic soil.
Thanks Frank Cornelissen to let visit and taste his wines, amazing experience.

martedì 1 luglio 2014

The real Montalcino

Montalcino a great town in Tuscany in the provence of Siena, people all over the world know this small village for their incredible wine made with Sangiovese actually a particular clone called Sangiovese Grosso; due to the fact of concentration of terpene and flavonoid and small black berries a bit different of the other type of Sangiovese.
Some producer made this wine travel in the old days all over the world and gave it a strong personality, Biondi Santi perhaps is the father of it.
On my small trip in Montalcino I did try to understand why it is so good, I visit many wineries and I choose them in regards to their way to work the soil and the attention on mother nature which belong to my philosophy of drinking.. I need to drink something which I can put a face of a person behind it, thus means company and big corporation even if their wines are amazing, they don't attract me. I always loved the growers and family businesses.
I'll not pretend to say what I tasted are the best of the denomination, but that's my research which drives me this way, of course there will be other nice growers but unfortunately I' m not aware. So your (others) advice are welcome to this post.
Brunello taking shape
A bit of tips on Montalcino:
Montalcino rises 560m above sea level between the valleys of rivers Ombrone, river Asso and river Orcia. On a surface about 24,000 hectare which only 15% is occupied by vineyards. To the south, Mount Amiata (an inactive volcano) rising 1740m higher looks over and protects the Brunello territory, protecting the Brunello from atmospheric phenomena such as cloudbursts and hailstorms. There are different sub regions which aren't actually recognized but these make the terroir driven. So in the centre of the denomination there is the town of Montalcino which is the north part of the area, making wine with more finesse, elegance and acid structure going towards Torrenieri. Heading south east you will find the area of Castelnuovo dell'Abate. Here the soil is fatty and the climate is hotter. Their wine tends to be a little bit fattier with great structure. However the vineyards on top of the hills in this area are mitigated by the river Ocia and the nearby volcano Mount Amiata. So in this case the highest position in this part gives as well elegance and finesse. To the south center and south west we find a small number of towns with vineyards around, which makes their wine more masculine, more tannin and more structure. They are Santangelo in Colle, Sant Angelo Scalo and Camigliano. Here the vineyards overlooking the sea 40 km away and thus the sea breeze influences the wine, with mineral context and sapidity (perception of saltiness). In all the denomination the soil is very diverse, thus in common there is this Galestro soil which is a type of rock you can find in small and big sizes and are compact clay, loam and marl (compacted over centuries). the climate is typical mediterranean ensuring a gradual and full growth of the grape bunches.
Mount Amiata from Castelnuovo dell'Abate.

Galestro soil
Santangelo in Colle we visited Fonterenza winery. Owned by two sisters, we were welcomed by Francesca she was very kind, warm and friendly. We tasted some wine from the barrels, different vintages and i loved it. They reflect their personality are elegance, feminine and mineral.
Long maceration between stainless and wood and they age rigorously in italian big barrels. Leave the wine with some balsamic and spice tertiary integrate with the fruit profile.

Fonterenza wines.

In Montalcino next door to the famous producer Biondi Santi there is this other small producer Pian Dell'Orino.  A couple from northern italy and germany working meticulously in biodynamic farming. Following step by step the holistic technique of the biodynamic philosophy. They experiment in the vineyard they prune they till plant by plant they choose the best by trying to have a dialogue with each vine plant. The vineyard architecture is in a circular shape for the harmony to allow mother nature to freely enter. Their Brunello are a type of burgundy style, very pinotesque color, sour red fruit intense galestro minerality.

Pian Dell'Orino wines
Castello Di Argiano in Sant'angelo Scalo I visited the Sesti family, an aristocratic english personality.   Elisa Sesti welcomed us and showed us their gem. More than 40 hectares but less than 10 hectares are dedicated to vines. To achieve a great bio diversity with different crops and to give a subliminal healthiness to the vines. Lunar faced and astrological philosophy influence the different range of wines. different capacity of barrels used for the production of Sangiovese. Sesti soil is rich of fossils and gives a very interesting mineral contact to their wine, a pure expression of Sangiovese.

@ SESTI winery

Mr Colleoni from Podere Sante Marie
A very small artisan in the centre of Montalcino. Here the attention of farming is one of ancient times where nature is left to do its own thing. He told us that a clean perfect swiss garden is not applied on his land, instead a wild view is his perfect garden. Colleoni vineyards are full of life! But they are not shaped as beautiness to the normal persons eye. His wines are eccentric but humble. Tasting from barrels of '11 to 2013 and he brought us through the degustation step by step, it was an outstanding experience to listen and absorb his words. An old fashion true olden time Brunello.
Climate, soil, exposition was the main topic.
Pinotesque, balsamic, length, spiciness and earthiness are the layer of this wine.

@ Colleoni Podere Sante Marie.